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Tolling at a Frontier: A Game Theoretic Analysis


Author Info

  • David Levinson

    (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)


Frontiers provide an opportunity for one jurisdiction to remedy inequities (and even exploit them) in highway finance by employing toll-booths, and thereby ensuring the highest possible share of revenue from non-residents. If one jurisdiction sets policy in a vacuum, it is clearly advantageous to impose as high a toll on non-residents as can be supported. However, the neighboring jurisdiction can set policy in response. This establishes the potential for a classical prisoner's dilemma consideration: in this case to tax (cooperate) or to toll (defect).Even if both jurisdictions would together raise as much revenue from taxes as from tolls (and perhaps more since taxes may have lower collection costs), the equilibrium solution in game theory, under a one-shot game, is for both parties to toll. However in the case of a repeated game, cooperation (taxes and possibly revenue sharing) which has lower collection costs is stable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group in its series Working Papers with number 199904.

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Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Transportation and Traffic Theory 173-187.
Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:frontier

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Postal: Dept. of Civil Engineering, 500 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: +01 (612) 625-6354
Fax: +01 (612) 626-7750
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Cited by:
  1. David Levinson, 2005. "Micro-foundations of Congestion and Pricing: A Game Theory Perspective," Working Papers 200504, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  2. Lei Zhang & David Levinson & Shanjiang Zhu, 2007. "Agent-Based Model of Price Competition and Product Differentiation on Congested Networks," Working Papers 200809, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.


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